No Pay, Cool Hat

Support your volunteer fire company.

My husband woke me to say that the power was out. I remembered thinking, I hope the food in the refrigerator doesn’t spoil, before I rolled over and returned to dreams. He woke me with urgency a few hours later.

            “Power’s out in half of the house…not right…went outside to look…live wire’s in the middle of the road… GET UP NOW!”

            It figured. On the one night my husband didn’t snore, he’d wake me to help save humanity from electrocution.

            On the phone, the electric company employee stressed that we should not go near the wire. She also suggested that we keep other people and pets away and to call the fire company since the wire was across the road.

            The instructions should’ve been easy, but in my neighborhood the keep away part was impossible. My husband stood in the middle of the road with his flashlight pointed at the wire. He took it as his duty to keep others away until the fire company arrived.

            I should mention that it was 2:30 am and raining. Electricity and water do not mix. Ions, polarity, currents, and much unexplainable science was involved, but death was the possible outcome of this mixture. My husband refused to stand on the porch. He stood in the rain in his shorts and plastic shoes waiting to stop 2:30 am traffic from running over a downed wire.

            Who would be out at that time of the night except vampires? People who work night shift are out at 2:30 am. Despite a guy in shorts and plastic shoes, furiously waving a flashlight, the neighbor stopped his truck right over top of the wire. After much shouting and arm waving, the hubby had the neighbor back up, explained the situation, and saved him from death.

            After the lone truck drove away, an emergency vehicle arrived, and a pickup, and the fire truck with flashing lights. All the neighbor’s security lights popped on. It looked like Christmas.

            The action brought out the neighborhood vampires. There are nosy people and then there are gawkers. Nosy people peek through the shades loathe to be caught. Gawkers stand on the front porch in their underwear and tell a camera crew, “I stood right here and watched the tornado take the roof off of my neighbor’s house.”

            Gawkers may be a news person’s dream, but they’re the bane of fire fighters and law enforcement. Gawkers can be idiots. Our neighborhood had a vampire gawker disguised as a curious old guy. He had to be strongly reminded three times by the firemen to step away from the wire. So of course he whipped out his phone to take photos. At least he wore pants.

            I could see the posting. “This is what a live wire looks like.” It looks the same as a dead wire, so why would you risk coming close enough to take a photo and stop your heart?

            I should’ve been shooting a video, but I was safely tucked inside the house, out of the rain, and away from the threat of electrocution. Besides, I had to keep the dog quiet so as not to wake  vampires or worse, more gawkers.

            Finally, the electrician arrived. The ladder on his truck was stuck. After eyeing a ladder which rested against my neighbor’s house, he opted to borrow a ladder from the firefighters to fix the wire.

            Thank goodness we always paid our electric bill on time. We also sent our volunteer fire company a nice donation and supported their fund raisers. It took everyone’s support to keep a community healthy. The volunteer fire company especially deserved support and some kind of trophy. Hanging out in the rain, lending ladders, and keeping old guys from electrocution defied the general duties of a firefighter. Curious old guys could be worse than fire.

            As I drove past the fire station the next day, a sign out front read, help wanted, odd hours, no pay, cool hat. I must add “and a hero mentality to keep idiots from death.”          

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